Personal Growth,  Relationships

Set Boundaries and Build that Backbone!

Well hello there. I couldn’t help but notice you need help with setting boundaries. I can help with that! From setting boundaries at work to knowing what boundaries to set in a relationship, there is a simple formula you can use to improve your relationships! Don’t worry, you can learn to set boundaries fast!

You might have come from the Instagram Live that I hosted with @ktashleyy earlier this week on this topic. We had such a great chat that I felt inspired to write about it! Katie was a pleasure to talk to, and she made so many important points about boundaries!

If you stick around to the very end, I may or may not have a free boundaries worksheet that you can easily download!

This post focuses on the meaning of boundaries, examples of boundaries, what you can expect when you implement boundaries into you life, and how you can set boundaries!

To Set Boundaries, You Need to Know What They Are

Setting boundaries is essentially setting a protective layer around yourself. In a literal sense, it means putting limits to things you’re comfortable with and not comfortable with in order to maintain healthy relationships.

The meaning of boundaries is just to allow people to know what line not to cross. You can set boundaries for pretty much anything, and with any kind of relationship (friends, family, whatever!). Boundaries are a healthy thing to set!

Even in healthy relationships, your partner needs to know what you’re comfortable with so that you can avoid unnecessary arguments and you get the respect that you deserve!

Boundaries are:

  • Saying what you’re comfortable with
  • Stating what you’re not okay with
  • A clear line of what you won’t tolerate
  • How to protect yourself
  • A way to maintain respect between people
  • Very personal
  • A healthy way to express yourself

Boundaries are NOT:

  • Just a suggestion
  • Something people can disrespect
  • Something people can try to change
  • A personal attack

Examples of Boundaries

You know when I said that boundaries can be set in any kind of relationship? Here, I’ll give you examples of the kinds of boundaries you might be setting with the people in your life without even knowing it.

Boundaries with Family

  • Telling your family not to ask about the intimate details of your relationship
  • Asking your parents to knock before they enter your room
  • Telling your parents that you don’t want them to post photos of you on Facebook

Boundaries with Friends

  • Cutting people out for talking behind your back
  • Refusing to lend money
  • Not taking phone calls after a certain time

Boundaries at Work

  • Not doing something for free
  • Refusing to work in a store alone
  • Not taking abuse from coworkers or your boss

Boundaries in a Relationship

  • Voicing when you’re comfortable with intimacy
  • Not being comfortable with your partner talking with their ex
  • Not letting your partner talk over you

I’m sure you’ve never thought of it that way, but the world works with boundaries. Without them, people would totally walk all over you!

What to Expect when You Set Boundaries

In our Instagram Live chat, Katie and I marveled at the fact that setting boundaries changes your life. No, seriously.

You might be more susceptible to not setting boundaries when you’re a people pleaser. Don’t worry if you see yourself in that term, I was a people pleaser too!

Here’s what to expect when you first start setting boundaries with the people in your life:

It won’t Feel Natural

If you’re a people pleaser or just haven’t been aware of boundaries before, it’s going to feel super weird to voice them at first.

At first being the most important thing of that sentence.

You will get comfortable with setting boundaries eventually.

You will know the right way to say it and get the timing right eventually.

This blog post will give you tips on the right timing to set boundaries with people and the right tone of voice to use, so don’t worry if it doesn’t come naturally to you!

You don’t have to confront people and you don’t have to be aggressive, don’t worry. But just realize that it’ll totally feel weird the first few times that you set boundaries!

You’re Less Stressed

After that initial newness of setting boundaries, you’ll get the hang of it. This means that the stress of finding the right words to say when voicing your limits will be virtually non-existent.

Yup, you heard that right!

You have a recipe of what you have to say when you need to set boundaries. You’re also used to setting them with people.

The anxiety of having to tell people what you’re comfortable with won’t be there anymore with practice and with the right formula.

Bask into the feeling of knowing that you set up that protection around you and won’t have to deal with what happens when people don’t respect your boundaries as much.

Toxic People Seem to Magically Disappear

woman giving the peace sign to show that toxic people disappear

All right, if you gain only one piece of advice after watching, this should be it: people who get mad at you for having boundaries are the ones who took advantage of you having none.

There, I said it. No healthy person will challenge your boundaries or argue with you until you give them up.

It is so important that you stand your ground and enforce your boundaries because of people like that. I’ll show you how to do that in the next section, but the whole point of boundaries is to enforce them!

Once people know that you’re not messing around and the boundaries you put up can’t be crossed, the toxic people will weed themselves out of your life.

People who are toxic survive off of you not being able to stand up for yourself. They’re leeches who ask for favors, badmouth other people and many other things that just make you uncomfortable.

If you’re able to say no to them, expect some pushback. They’ll argue, tell you that you used to be different, even apologize for asking again (but still ask anyway, obviously) … whatever it takes for you to reconsider. (Just a side note, this is called gaslighting, and it’s a whole other article I’ll have to do).

When you still refuse to budge, they’ll ask other people and you’ll be left alone. Remember: boundaries are healthy, and boundaries are needed even in healthy relationships.

How to Set Boundaries in a Relationship: The Perfect Formula

Now that you know why boundaries are important and examples of boundaries, let’s get to the meat of the article: the exact thing you should say to set boundaries.

It’s surprisingly simple, and it works every single time. It’s just a simple sentence structure you need to remember when setting boundaries.

“Hey, I feel __(insert emotion)__ when you __(insert behavior or action)__. If you keep doing that, __(insert consequence)__.”

Just a disclaimer: when I say you have to give a consequence, I don’t mean you have to reprimand them like a teacher. I’m talking about YOUR behavior if they keep ignoring your boundaries.

Let’s use the example of your boss that keeps scheduling you alone in the store without having any backup in case something happens. You can say:

“Hey, I feel super uncomfortable and unsafe when you schedule me alone on the floor. If that keeps happening, I’ll have to find another job.”

Your consequence can range from something small, like not picking up any extra shifts, to something more serious like quitting. In any situation, you are in control of deeming the best course of action for someone crossing your boundaries.

You CAN Have Boundaries in Your Relationships

You might find it daunting, this whole “setting boundaries” thing. Navigating boundaries in relationships can be tough at first, but like everything else in life, practice makes perfect!

If you need extra practice, I have a free boundaries worksheet that will help you finesse those skills and create healthy relationships!

You deserve it.

Share this article if you found it interesting!

Peace out!

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